Medical Record Collection Stage
Once you have been discharged by all medical providers, our office will start the medical record collection. We will collect the full medical records, bills, notes, and insurance payments from your accident-related medical providers and your health insurance company to the extent it pays for any medical care. You may be wondering why we have not collected your records earlier. The answer is that you have to pay for each record collection. We will generally pay for these costs on behalf of the client but it does get reimbursed from any settlement proceeds. Thus, it is generally worth it to wait for collection until you are done with treatment. This way we can do a full record review and make sure we understand your injuries, medical expense amount, amounts owed to providers, and identify any issues. While we are not medical providers, we do see medical records regularly that are incomplete or only partially provided. During this review, we will generally get the complete records after a few requests.
Once all the records have been received and reviewed, we will start preparing your demand letter to the insurance carrier. The demand letter is an extensive letter to the at-fault party and insurance carrier explaining our claim, your injuries and damages, and seeking a settlement amount to resolve this claim. To prepare this letter, our office will work with you to identify every possible claim and damage that you can seek in this claim. We will ask questions about your injuries, your changes in life, changes in your body, and changes at work that were caused by the accident. You will also meet with your attorney to go over the demand to confirm the facts of the accident/claim, your injuries, go over the possible damages, and receive your authority on a settlement amount. Again, as an attorney, we are your servants and here to provide you with our expertise including evaluating the claim. However, you will choose the settlement amount. Once you have approved the demand letter, we will send it out to the insurer with usually a twenty-one (21) day deadline to respond.
Pre Litigation Negotiations
Following receipt of the demand letter, the insurance company is going to review your claim. They will look at your social media to find any damning evidence on your injury claims. They will review the medical records looking for missed treatment or gaps in your treatment. They also will review the demand letter for the damages you are seeking. Once completed, most insurance carriers will also use different systems to review the case to determine the range in value of the case and risk to their insured and them for litigating the case. At this point, many insurance companies will also evaluate the attorney you have chosen or if you are bringing the claim yourself. This is important because insurance companies will reduce the range in value based on the likelihood the attorney will take a case to litigation or trial, which is why some of those billboard and fast check firms only receive lower value settlements. Our office has generally seen the range in settlement values increase based on our prior trial experience including getting a $36,000,000 verdict. Following this review, the insurance carrier will send either a policy limits offer, accept your demand amount, provide their first offer below policy limits, or deny the case.
If the insurance carrier accepts your demand amount, then they will move forward with sending you a release to settle your claims against their insured for that amount. We will work with you on getting this completed and working on resolving any liens for that settlement in the settlement stage. We also will look for other insurance policies to provide you with more money for your claim.
If the insurance carrier provides policy limits, then we will work to make sure that there are no other insurance policies and/or assets for the at fault party that would provide more money for your claim. We will work with you in evaluating this offer but most of the time this is the best option.
If the insurance carrier provides a below policy limits offer, then we will review that offer with you. Most of the time, this is the action that insurance companies will take. We know that they have an approved range and we will work with you to get to the top of the range to get you more money and give you the decision to take the max offer before litigation or move forward with a lawsuit.
If the insurance carrier denies the demand, then we will prepare for litigation which means we will take the case to court and possibly trial.